SPORTS

Gobert Claims NBA Referees Are Working Against Timberwolves

Mar 30, 2023, 1:48 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert took a hard line against NBA officials after the Minnesota Timberwolves fell to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.

Gobert was whistled for five fouls during the game, including four offensive fouls in the second half alone as the Timberwolves watched a double-digit lead quickly evaporate.

When asked about how the referees officiated the game, Gobert offered a pointed criticism.

“It’s not fair, it’s really not fair,” Gobert said. “Every night. I’ve been in this league for 10 years and I try to always give the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard for me to think they’re not trying to help them win tonight. It’s hard for me to think they didn’t try to help the Warriors win the other night or Sacramento Kings the other night. It’s just so obvious.”

The Timberwolves had won four straight heading into Wednesday’s meeting with the Suns as they fight to earn one of the final guaranteed playoff spots in the West.

“As a basketball player that’s been in this league for so long, it’s disrespectful and it sucks, to be honest,” Gobert added. “We work so hard to be in a position to compete with the best and we just get manipulated into those situations where it just impacts the game for the other team too much. They know how to do it. They do it in a lot of different ways. Tonight was another way of doing it. But it’s all good. We understand that it’s also a business. Unfortunately, it’s sad, but it’s good also. It’s really good. But it’s true.”

Gobert finished with seven points and 15 rebounds against Phoenix but also committed six turnovers, largely due to the high number of offensive fouls called against him.

In his post-game press conference, Gobert claimed the league’s desire to have high-profile names competing in the playoffs was to blame for the loss.

“We understand that we’re not the biggest of the markets and we’re a team that – I think you want to see [Kevin Durant] in the playoffs, [Stephen Curry] in the playoffs, you want to see LeBron [James] in the playoffs,” Gobert said. “Timberwolves are not there yet.”

Jake and Ben discussed Rudy Gobert’s relationship with NBA referees in the podcast below.

Gobert has had an up-and-down season in Minnesota, struggling to live up to expectations early before settling into the Timberwolves rotation.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year had seen a recent surge in play since the Timberwolves acquired Mike Conley last month at the trade deadline.

Gobert was averaging 16.0 points and 12.3 points over his previous nine games prior to his difficult outing against the Suns.

“We’ve got to keep putting our head down, keep playing through that and it’s frustrating for sure,” Gobert said. “Especially for me.”

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Gobert Claims NBA Referees Are Working Against Timberwolves